africa says no to israel

First Israel-Africa Summit called off following boycott threats
Tovah Lazaroff, JPost, Sep 11 2017

The first-ever Israel-Africa Summit set for Togo in October has been canceled in the aftermath of boycott threats by a number of countries and pressure against the event from Palestinians and Arab nations. PM Netanyahu had planned to attend the conference, which was expected to draw representatives from many of the 54 African countries. The summit was billed as a sign of Israel’s success in making new diplomatic friends and deepening the country’s economic ties with the African continent. The slogan “Israel is returning to Africa” has been one of Netanyahu’s hallmark initiatives. In August, Netanyahu told the government:

Various pressures have been placed on Pres Gnassingbé (of Togo) to cancel the conference. These pressures are the best testimony to the success of our policy, of Israel’s presence in Africa.

But there is speculation that domestic issues in both countries led to the event’s cancellation. In Israel, these include the pending indictment of Sara Netanyahu and the ongoing criminal investigations of the premier. A diplomatic source said that the delay had nothing to do with international pressure or domestic internal concerns, but was solely the result of Togolese unrest stemming from street protests against the government. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in the past three days to demand that Pres Gnassingbé step down, in the most serious challenge to his family’s stranglehold on power since the death of his father in 2005. The Foreign Ministry announced the summit’s cancellation while Netanyahu was en route to Argentina, in the first-ever visit by a sitting Israeli prime minister to Latin America. In its statement to the press, the ministry said that the event had been “postponed,” but it did not provide an alternative date. The ministry said:

At the request of the president of Togo and following a joint consultation with the prime minister, it was decided to postpone the convening of the Israel-Africa Summit, scheduled to take place in October in Lomé. In the near future, Israel will hold consultations in Africa, both on the bilateral level as well as in regional gatherings and fora on the continent, in order to guarantee the full success of the summit. Pres Gnassingbé, who visited in Israel in August, thanked and praised the prime minister for his determination to strengthen the cooperation between his country and Israel, as well as for his personal engagement to guarantee the initiative to hold the summit. Pres Gnassingbé also emphasized that this event aims to unite the efforts undertaken against the threat on peace and security, which undermines stability and slows down the development of the continent. Israel is fully committed to continue its efforts vis-à-vis the African continent. In 2016, PM Netanyahu visited Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. In June of this year, he was a guest of honor at the ECOWAS Summit in Liberia. An ECOWAS delegation, with representatives of 20 countries, is now in Israel. Israel believes that the African countries and Israel can only benefit from the continuation of practical cooperation between the two sides, and this is in important areas such as water, agriculture, health and technology.

Yosef Abramowitz, CEO of Energiya Global Capital, who has accompanied Netanyahu on his Africa missions and finances solar and wind farms in Africa, said:

The prime minister should save face and recover momentum in Africa by appointing Dr Avraham Neguise, chairman of the Knesset’s caucus for Israel-Africa relations, as foreign minister. Having an African-Israeli at the helm of the Foreign Ministry at a time when the prime minister is seeking enhanced relations with Africa and a seat at the table of the African Union will take back the narrative from BDS forces, who are celebrating the postponement of the Africa-Israel Summit.

Toad Crown Prince’s “Secret” Visit To Israel Brings Embassy Scramble
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Sep 11 2017

Clearly the war in Syria and the international push for regime change against Assad has created strange alliances in the Middle East over the past few years. Among the strangest bedfellows are Israelis and Toads. It’s no secret that common cause in Syria of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break-up of the so-called “Shi’a crescent” as their primary policy goal in the region. But that’s perhaps why few pundits seemed overly shocked when Israeli media late last week began reporting that a Toad prince made a secret visit to Israel, in spite of the fact that the KSA does not recognize the Jewish state, and the two sides do not have diplomatic relations. Last Wednesday (Sep 6) Kol Israel radio made cryptic reference to the “secret” yet historic visit while withholding names and specifics. The station reported:

An emir of the Toad royal court visited the country secretly in recent days and discussed with senior Israeli officials the idea of advancing regional peace. Both the PMO and the Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the issue.

The visit is said to have occurred the same week that PM Netanyahu confirmed “unprecedented” relations with the Arab world. Netanyahu made the comments before members of the foreign ministry. He said:

Things that are happening today between Israel and the Arab world are unprecedented. Cooperation on a wide range of issues are occurring behind the scenes, more than at any time in Israel’s history.

But on Sunday, reports began to emerge that the unidentified Saudi royal in question is no less than Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), which would indeed be shocking news:

On Sunday, the IUVM Online Arabic news outlet identified the Toad boxtop who reportedly visited Israel as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Defense Minister of Toad Arabia and heir apparent to the throne. The IUVM Online report cited a UAE intelligence officer, who claimed that MbS was the member of the Toad royal family who met with Israeli boxtops in last week’s secret meeting.

Western journalists also began on Sunday to report the dignitary as being Crown Prince Salman, something which could have huge geopolitical consequences for the region given that such a high level meeting would possibly take place at all.

The reports were immediately disputed and subject to disbelief and controversy. As bin Salman’s name continued to circulate Sunday, the Toad Embassy in Faschingstein attempted to shut down news of the visit. A senior Toad diplomatic bioxtop took to Twitter with a simple “Nope” in reference to the allegations.

Of course, if true such a dramatic move between the countries would signify a monumental shift in relations and outlook. On Sunday Israeli media was also broadly advancing MbS’s name as the Toad emir in question.

Multiple Israeli outlets on Sunday identified MbS as
having met with senior Israeli boxtops early last week.

Though initial reports in Israeli media speculated that it could mean positive momentum on the Palestinian issue, it is unlikely that the future king of Toad Arabia himself would suddenly pay a personal visit to Israel over an issue which has stalemated regional diplomacy for decades. It also doesn’t appear that Israeli policy on settlements has undergone any significant on the ground change. If true, public knowledge of the visit will certainly result in embarrassment for both countries, especially on the Toad domestic front. The initial Israeli public radio report referenced the visit of “an emir of the Toad royal court” on Wednesday while saying the trip took place “in recent days”. As both Israel and Toad Arabia have been so heavily invested in pursuing regime change in Syria, and at a time when other world powers seem to be backing off, it is inconceivable that Syria wasn’t high on the agenda during the unprecedented visit. The timing of the meeting also seems more than just coincidental in relation to last week’s Israeli airstrike on a Syrian military facility, which took place in the middle of the night Wednesday (or more precisely Thursday morning at 3:00 am). As we reported at the time, Israel’s brazen act of aggression was designed to provoke a response from Syria. As the Syrian government stands poised to be victorious in the more than 6-year long conflict while rapidly regaining more and more territory, Israel seems desperate to keep the war going and is still making last ditch efforts to draw external powers deeper into Syria, though framing its aggression as “humanitarian.”

Could the two powers have been engaged in face-to-face talks over renewed efforts at ramping up the stalled war for regime change in Syria? After all, Israel’s declarations of its willingness to do anything to prevent an enduring Iranian presence in Syria have reached a new erratic pitch of late. During Netanyahu’s recent contentious summit with Pres Putin in Sochi, the Israeli leader reportedly warned Putin that Israel would not tolerate an enlarged and stronger Shi’a sphere of influence along Israel’s border. Yet the current trajectory of the war in Syria ensures just that, especially after the Pindo-Russia brokered Astana agreement seemed to give tacit approval of Iranian troop presence in parts of Syria, while placing Russia in the driver’s seat. It was further revealed that a senior Israeli official accompanying Netanyahu on the trip threatened to assassinate Pres Assad by bombing his palace in Damascus, while further adding that Israel will seek to derail the Astana de-escalation deal. As for Toad Arabia, while its deep embroilment in inter-GCC diplomatic war with Qatar seems to have tempered what used to be routine calls for Assad’s departure, it must be remembered that the current unraveling of the GCC is ultimately benefiting Iran. It is entirely possible that the Iran issue alone might drive the kingdom into direct engagement with Israel no matter the risks and political embarrassment (for example, news of the visit hands Iran a propaganda victory and likely more influence on the so-called Arab street, even perhaps within Toad Arabia’s own domestic population). Toad Arabia could also be worried about future blowback from its well-documented actions in Syria. A WikiLeaks cable released in 2015 as part of the “Toad Leaks” trove of internal leaked Toad diplomatic memos speaks to just this scenario. Though the memo’s exact date is unknown, it was drafted sometime in early 2012, based on internal references in the Arabic text. It spells out the kingdom’s internal long term rationale on Syria: that should the Syrian regime “be able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form” then increased “danger for the Kingdom” means it must “seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria.” A full translation of the key passage reads as follows:

In what pertains to the Syrian crisis, the Kingdom is resolute in its position and there is no longer any room to back down. The fact must be stressed that in the case where the Syrian regime is able to pass through its current crisis in any shape or form, the primary goal that it will pursue is taking revenge on the countries that stood against it, with the Kingdom and some of the countries of the Gulf coming at the top of the list. If we take into account the extent of this regime’s brutality and viciousness and its lack of hesitancy to resort to any means to realize its aims, then the situation will reach a high degree of danger for the Kingdom, which must seek by all means available and all possible ways to overthrow the current regime in Syria.

Whether or not it was in fact Crown Prince MbS that himself went to Israel, the timing of the high level delegation’s visit is simply impossible to ignore. Simply put, Syria was without a doubt discussed … and shortly thereafter Syria was bombed. Such direct and closer relations among perennial enemies could be a sign of more escalation and desperate measures to come in the region. This is certainly not a sign of regional peace, as Israeli media reported.

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